Many of you coming here probably already know me, but for those who don't (or maybe don't know the whole scoop). Hi there. My name is Brandi and I am a creative, silly, sensitive, gender non-conforming, stage 4 breast cancer surviving, astrology-loving queerdo. And I need your help.
On October 26, 2016, at 35 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple-positive breast cancer with a small suspicious spot on my spine. Shortly after, in May 2017, it was confirmed that cancer had spread to my spine (up and down my entire spine), clavicle, ribs, hip, and pelvic bones, and I was now living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a terminal diagnosis.
While I have had some real successes (such as great improvements on my bones after literally breaking my back from the disease eating my bone) for the most part, it has been a challenging road. Just when I think I might be making some traction towards being awarded the coveted "remission" label, something inevitably shifts and I am faced with a new adventure to unravel and understand.
The most recent adventure I have been asked to embark on is having a secondary tumor growing on top of the original tumor throughout this year (2019). One month or so following treatment to this new tumor, I started developing some strange red spots on my skin on my breast near the tumor site. By August 2019 these spots were becoming nodules and I had some open sores forming. A punch biopsy confirmed that it was indeed cancerous, that the tumor was growing out of my skin and it is VERY aggressive. As of today, only months later, fully fungating ulcerated tumors are covering almost my entire breast. It is unsightly, unnerving, and very painful. I tried a targeted chemo drug called Kadcyla and was unresponsive to it so I am now on another round of chemotherapy with a plan to have surgery as soon as they can get it knocked back enough to get good margins for full removal of my breast.
After 3 years fighting this, I am exhausted, terrified, dealing with so much pain, so many side effects, so many changes to my body, so many changes to my mental health, and the hardest of it all — facing my own mortality.
I am also in crippling debt and while I have had some financial support from friends and family here and there, to which I am very grateful, I have still had to almost completely support myself throughout all of this by borrowing money, maxing out all my credit cards, and leaving medical bills unpaid. I have had to pay out of pocket for much of the treatments that I attribute to still being here and alive (and still need). I did not have medical insurance when this started, and have since had to pay out of pocket for insurance and the deductibles. This doesn’t even cover any of the alternative treatments, supplements, organic fresh food, etc etc that are extremely important to managing cancer. I cannot stress enough how extremely expensive to have cancer.This is where you come in.
I feel so deeply that the best thing for me right now is to figure out some way to get myself out of this hole I have been thrown into and try to live a life, whatever I have left of it, full of ONLY the rest and pleasure anyone really deserves when experiencing a terminal diagnosis. Maybe, just maybe, this will give me what I need to finally bring my body back into balance and fully heal and recover — and if not, then at least I would live out the rest of my life doing what I enjoy and not just constantly trying to figure out how to keep paying the bills and stay afloat.
I am standing here completely terrified to ask for what I am asking but if this cancer has taught me anything it is that I matter. I have a right to ask for what I need. So I really just went for it here, in my most ideal world, this is how much money I would need to sort out my finances so I may just focus on rest, making art, doing astrology, and healing.
I feel like this is so much to ask, but all I am really asking is for you to help me have a clean slate, a fresh start (or perhaps even a clean end). I have been pretty much on my own in a lot of ways since I was 10 years old and I am tired of doing it alone. So here I am, humbly asking for your help. Asking for you to help me live a life that feels good, is healing, and ultimately I can be proud to let go of if/when the time comes.
Thank you for your time, love and support.